The African news media has been filled with reports over the past couple of hours of an outbreak of an unidentified illness that has quickly claimed the lives of (depending on the report) of two dozen or more people in Ondo, Nigeria. I see that Flutrackers has already started a thread here, which should be a good place to find any updates.
Although near to regions that have been dealing with Ebola for the past year, the symptoms thus far described – headaches, often followed by blindness and then death – are not really consistent with what you’d expect from a hemorrhagic fever.
A smattering of media reports follow, after which I’ll return with a bit more:
The ancient Ikale community in Irele local government area of Ondo state has been hit by a mysterious disease, killing at least 14 people. DAILY POST gathered that the disease has been ravaging the community since the past 10 days. According to Mr. Taiwo ...
Disease A strange ailment has broken out and killed about 14 people in Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State, south west Nigeria. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, said the disease, discovered on Wednesday, is strange and its ...
Dr Dayo Adeyanju, Ondo health commissioner, said that the disease is strange and it's symptoms include headache and loss of sight. He assured the residents that the local and international health institutions were already investigating the causes of the ...
There is a decided lack of useful epidemiological and demographic data on these cases in these media reports.
We don’t know how many people are sick, whether they are related to each other or shared some common exposure, whether they are all adults or a mixture of adults and children, whether they skew to one gender or another . . . or much of anything else.
There is simply too little to speculate on the cause, but the symptoms mentioned could just as easily be due to a toxin, or poison, rather than an infectious disease.
`Mystery’ diseases usually turn out to be far less mysterious once medical teams arrive and can begin testing. In any event, given the sudden onset, and apparent high mortality in this outbreak, we’ll keep tabs on it in the days to come.